Phil Mickelson Finally Does Smart Thing: Drops Out of LIV Lawsuit

LIV Golf, Phil Mickelson, Greg Norman, Cameron Tringale,(Photo by Joe Scarnici/LIV Golf/Getty Images)
LIV Golf, Phil Mickelson, Greg Norman, Cameron Tringale,(Photo by Joe Scarnici/LIV Golf/Getty Images) /

This week Phil Mickelson did the most sensible thing he’s done in the last 18 months.  He took his name off the antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour.

There are several reasons he might have done that.  It may be that no other sponsors would step up to pay him for endorsement deals so long as he is embroiled in a legal battle.

It may be that he finally realized that there was a decent chance he could lose and would have to pay court costs and, possibly, damages.

It may be, as he said, that LIV finally put their name on the suit.  And it might be that he really just wanted to move on.

Historically, though, and particularly in the last year or so, Mickelson hasn’t always said what he thinks or means. But until all this LIV stuff, he has said and done the right thing more often than not, at least in public.

He has been charitable, thoughtful when it comes to many people, even total strangers, and a huge winner.

In private, as was revealed in the not really authorized biography of his career (Phil), he hid a gambling problem.  His wagering was long rumored, but no one would talk about it, or the people who actually knew weren’t asked in the past, or they didn’t want to talk until now.  He’s not the only person who has faced demons, and hopefully, he conquers them.

"“Players grant almost exclusive media rights to LIV Golf for LIV Golf events only…”"

And as far as LIV goes, the new tour was a great opportunity for Mickelson, financially. There was no way he was going to be able to double his past PGA Tour earnings playing on the PGA Tour Champions circuit. It just doesn’t get the exposure that the PGA Tour does. Less exposure means less money in purses and less from sponsors.

In addition, as much as fans like Mickelson, the chances of him beating PGA Tour players has most likely drawn to a close. He’s 52, the same age as Sam Snead was when he won on the PGA Tour for the last time.

Sure 50 is the new 40, but playing golf involves wear and tear on the hands, shoulders, hips, feet, and brain. His psoriatic arthritis doesn’t help matters. And the guys he would have to beat are 25 years younger than he is.

Phil Mickelson could have replaced Faldo…

Mickelson probably could have been on the short list of candidates for replacing Nick Faldo, and that certainly could have launched him into a higher echelon within the corporate world.  But that now goes to Trevor Immelman who revealed his skills as a thought leader and potential as a spokesman when he captained the International Team at the Presidents Cup.

Then there’s the downside issue of being buds with the Saudis, but many people all over the world do business with that country to the benefit of both parties.  No one has been made God for a day, so it’s difficult to sit in judgment of another person’s decisions so long as they are legal. And this one is.

So, perhaps Phil Mickelson’s other lawyers came to his rescue somehow, pointing out how hard it is to make an antitrust case stick, especially when LIV had, in fact, put on golf tournaments in the US.

As far as it being hard to take the same companies that work for the PGA Tour, nobody in their right mind is going to give up working with a company they have done business with for years for three or four events.  Just like GM probably doesn’t want its suppliers selling to Ford.

It’s also hard to complain about the PGA Tour and media rights when LIV also constrains media rights to some degree, perhaps not exactly like the PGA Tour, but in some manner.

That was revealed in an article for Morning Read by Alex Miceli, who is an attorney. According to Miceli, one part of the LIV regulations that addresses media rights says:

"“Players grant almost exclusive media rights to LIV Golf for LIV Golf events only, but are also allowed to sell, transfer their individual media rights specifically the value of his name, image, and likeness.”"

So, Phil Mickelson has given similar rights to LIV that he gave to the PGA Tour in order to participate in the latter’s golf tournaments.  It makes all Mickelson’s complaining about media rights sound very silly.

Next. LIV on TV: Professional Golf as an Infomercial. dark

At his best, Phil Mickelson is as generous as the day is long, but every now and again, like all of us, he walks out on a limb with no plan on how to get back.

Now, he’s decided to tiptoe back to the tree trunk for safety. At last, this signals some sort of a return to what used to pass for normal Mickelson behavior.